Clements: Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney told the Senate Agriculture Committee that lawmakers need to counter a steep, four-year drop in commodity prices that has left farmers and ranchers in worse shape than any time since the farm depression of the 1980s. Given the state of the farm economy, he says protecting farm bill spending and maintaining the farm safety net is critical in the next farm bill.
Haney: Really the goals of American Farm Bureau for the farm bill this year is to keep the safety net of crop insurance at the center. However, we want to be able to expand programs that help dairy, we want to be able to utilize and enhance the ARC county program, the PLC, all those that we want to be in place. We want to be able to choose, reenroll in the new farm bill, and really be able to use those programs that’s operational for their farms.
Clements: Haney urged Congress to maintain robust funding for conservation programs that encourage environmentally sensitive farming practices as well as for research programs that will keep ag on the cutting edge of technology.
Haney: Research has a huge impact on the way we produce and the way we are going to produce in the future. How we’re going to deal with maybe a shortage of water, or how we’re going to improve yields when we have less water, less inputs. All those things have to be done from the angle of research.
Clements: He says a strong farm bill will support the farm and rural economy.
Haney: We’re all looking for the same thing in rural America. We want to be able to continue multi-generational farming, we want to be able to raise our children and our grandchildren in a rural community that provides the best of the world it can offer. They want pristine waters, and good roads, and good infrastructure, and nice schools and hospitals, all the things that go with where you and I and other folks want to live. We want that for our children. The farm bill helps deliver that.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.